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Aygestin (Generic Norethindrone)

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Why is this medication prescribed?

Endometriosis is treated with norethindrone (a condition in which the type of tissue that lines the uterus [womb] grows in other areas of the body and causes pain, heavy or irregular menstruation [periods], and other symptoms). Norethindrone is also used to treat irregular periods or bleeding and to initiate a normal menstrual cycle in females who previously had regular periods but haven’t had one in at least three months, aren’t pregnant, or aren’t going through menopause (change of life; the end of monthly menstrual periods). The drug norethindrone belongs to the progestin drug class. It functions by causing the uterus to produce specific hormones and halting the growth of the uterine lining.

Another purpose for norethindrone is to prevent pregnancy. When used to prevent pregnancy, norethindrone is available under numerous brand names and is administered in lesser doses. The use of norethindrone to prevent pregnancy is not covered in this monograph. Read the Progestin-Only (norethindrone) Oral Contraceptives monograph if you are taking norethindrone to prevent pregnancy.

How should this medicine be used?

Norethindrone is available as an oral tablet. Depending on the condition being treated and how well norethindrone treats the condition, several dosage regimes for norethindrone are used. Norethindrone is often given once daily for 6 to 9 months, or until breakthrough bleeding becomes troublesome, while treating endometriosis. Norethindrone is often taken once daily for 5 to 10 days during the second part of the anticipated menstrual cycle when it is used to start a normal cycle in women who have stopped menstruating. Take norethindrone every day at about the same time of day to make it easier for you to remember to take it.Ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any instructions on your prescription label that you are unsure about following. Follow the norethindrone directions exactly. Never take it in larger or less amounts or more frequently than directed by your doctor.

Your doctor will likely start you on a modest dose of norethindrone for endometriosis and progressively raise your dose, not more than once every two weeks.

Your illness may be controlled by norethindrone, but it won’t be cured. Norethindrone should still be taken even if you are feeling OK. Without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking norethindrone.

Other uses for this medicine

Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking norethindrone,

  • If you have any allergies, including to norethindrone, oral contraceptives (often known as “birth control pills”), other drugs, or any of the chemicals in norethindrone tablets, tell your doctor right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and dietary supplements you are currently taking or intend to take. Incorporate any of the following: Anticoagulants (blood thinners) like warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); some HIV protease inhibitors like atazanavir (Reyataz, in Evotaz); darunavir (Prezista, in Prezcobix, in Symtuza); fosamprenavir (Lexiva), nelfinavir (Viracept); and ritonavir (Norvir, in Kaletra, Techn (Rifadin, Rimactane). Your physician might need to adjust the dosage of your drugs or keep a close eye on you for side effects.
  • Please let your doctor know if you are taking any herbal supplements, especially St. John’s wort.
  • Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had liver illness or any other form of liver trouble, a heart attack, a stroke or mini-stroke, breast cancer, unexplained abnormal vaginal bleeding, blood clots in your legs, lungs, or eyes. Most likely, your doctor will advise against taking norethindrone.
  • If you have or have ever had coronary artery disease (clogged blood vessels leading to the heart), chest pain, thrombophilia (a condition in which the blood clots more easily), seizures, migraine headaches, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, lupus (a condition in which the body attacks its own tissues causing damage and swelling), heart disease, or kidney disease, let your doctor know.
  • Inform your doctor if you are expecting, intend to get pregnant, or are nursing a baby. Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking norethindrone. Never use norethindrone to check for pregnancy.
  • If you have any allergies, including to norethindrone, oral contraceptives (often known as “birth control pills”), other drugs, or any of the chemicals in norethindrone tablets, tell your doctor right away. Request a list of the components from your pharmacist.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Keep eating normally unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

There may be negative effects from norethindrone. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:

  • Abnormal spotting or bleeding in the vagina
  • Modifications to menstrual flow
  • Larger or more delicate breasts
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Weight variations
  • Having trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Acne
  • Dark spots on the face
  • Hair fall
  • Facial hair growth

Some adverse effects can be very harmful. Even though the following signs are unusual, you should call your doctor right once if you notice any of them:

  • Absence of vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Dual perception
  • Enlarged eyes
  • Chronic headaches
  • Back of the lower leg discomfort, warmth, or weight
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Exhaling blood
  • Crushing or sudden chest discomfort
  • Chest heaviness
  • Slow or challenging speech
  • Unsteadiness or weakness
  • Arm or leg weakness or numbness
  • Swelling of the arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Depression
  • Mood changes
  • Missed cycles
  • A sudden, excruciating abdominal ache (area between the chest and waist)
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Breathing or swallowing challenges

There may be additional side effects from norethindrone. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.

You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting programme online or by phone if you have a serious side event (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Store it away from excessive heat and moisture at room temperature (not in the bathroom).

Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilising a medicine take-back programme is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programmes in your area, speak with your pharmacist or the garbage/recycling department in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back programme, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at for additional information.

As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.

In case of emergency/overdose

Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.

What other information should I know?

Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To monitor your body’s reaction to norethindrone, your doctor may request specific lab tests.

Inform your doctor and the lab staff that you are taking norethindrone prior to any laboratory test.

No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding medication refills should be directed to your pharmacist.

You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

  • Aygestin®
  • Norlutate®
  • Norlutin®
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